The ruling, or political class, in order to establish and preside over a benevolent State must answer some questions first. As you will readily deduce, these are questions for which answers are impossible, because the nature of the questions precludes them. Thus, they are not real questions. And yet, they must be answered in order for the government to be benevolent…hence the unsolvable problem, as it were.
Here we shall define “benevolent” as that which promotes, nurtures, and defends individual life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness, the codification of which can be most readily seen in the United States Bill of Rights, I submit. However, if you don’t accept this definition of “benevolent”, then I presume you have another frame of reference for moral value other than that of the individual. That would be a hard thing to justify as you’d necessarily be advocating for a collective moral frame of reference (i.e the Greater, or Common, Good), as opposed to an individual one, because if not an individual moral frame of reference then your only alternative is a collective one. Yet you’d necessarily be advocating this collective moral frame of reference from your individual existential frame of reference.
See the contradiction?
The problem is that you’d be splitting up knowledge and value into two completely different, and further, mutually exclusive, frames of reference. The individual has knowledge, as evidenced by the fact that you are, as an individual, making a truth claim (i.e. collective moral value), but only the collective is able to make value judgements.
Here is the error: Without value judgements, the individual cannot actually apply his knowledge…but un-applicable knowledge is not knowledge. For example, you cannot know that an apple is different from a rock unless you, as an individual, which is what you are, know what you shall (not can, nor must, nor may, nor should) do with them. To know that if you are hungry you shall eat the apple and not the rock is a value judgment. Meaning that if you only know the definition of “apple” and “rock” but have no purpose for apple and rock at any given moment as it applies to you (i.e. from your own individual existential frame of reference), then the definition becomes irrelevant. An irrelevant definition is a meaningless definition; a meaningless definition is a contradiction in terms. To say that you know something (e.g. that morality is collective, not individual) but not how to value it (e.g. that we shall thus organize a government which serves the Common Good) means that you cannot actually know it. To know something but not what to do with the knowledge means that you don’t actually know it. Knowledge without value is knowledge without purpose is knowledge without relevance is knowledge without meaning is meaningless knowledge…which is a contradiction in term.
Those of you familiar with the Is-Ought problem of morality, as expressed by David Hume, I think it was, will see how the inexorable relationship between knowledge and value makes this quite a problem for the Is-Ought problem. In other words, there is no real Is-Ought problem unless you presume that one can posses knowledge but not value…or, as it is often put, real knowledge is always objective but value is always subjective. This just a fancy way of saying that only knowledge actually exists. You know that the apple is an apple and a rock is a rock, but not how to apply that knowledge in a way that validates it as being actually knowledge (i.e. Truth). Or, in other words, in a way that validates that the knowledge is actually relevant, and thus meaningful, and thus actually knowledge, as “meaningless knowledge” is again a contradiction in terms. “Meaningless knowledge” is the same as “meaningless definitions”, and that? Doesn’t’ make sense. In other words, the Is-Ought problem isn’t a problem unless you A.) confuse “shall” with “should” or “ought”, and B.) erroneously presume that knowledge (or Truth) and value (or Ethic) are mutually exclusive. As they are not, but are in fact corollary, there is no problem.
The Is-Ought dilemma is just a proxy for the determinist assertion that consciousness doesn’t exist. That the willful application of truth is utterly subjective, because it’s rooted in value judgements—in “shoulds”, or “oughts”—which are mutually exclusive of objective Truth—the “is”…that, say, the rock is a rock—and therefore individual consciousness, which is the root of utterly subjective value judgements, is a lie. In other words, there is perception without real awareness…we are but biological computers mathematically programmed by evolution, natural law, etc. etc….but more on that peculiar brand of mysticism at a later date.
By the by, I plan on doing a post on dismantling the imaginary Is-Ought dilemma in an upcoming post…I did a few posts on the subject a while back, but they were clumsy and confusing, so I deleted them. I have since come up with what I think are much better arguments and much clearer ways of presenting those arguments.
At any rate, if. you define “benevolence” with respect to government as something other than that which promotes, nurtures, and protects the life, liberty, property, and happiness of the individual, you’re quite mistaken.
So here are the questions the ruling class, or would-be ruling class, must answer in order to to establish a benevolent State (NOTE: “Them” refers to the citizens.)
1. How shall we enslave them to set them free?
2. How shall we rob them to protect their private property?
3. How shall we torment them to comfort them?
4. How shall we make them sick in order to keep them well?
5. How shall we coerce them to cooperate with them?
6. How shall we hate them to love them?
7. How shall we deny them to affirm them?
8. How shall we murder them to save them?
These questions are the impossible burden of the “benevolent” State. As they cannot be answered, because they are meaningless due to their inherent contradiction, any attempt to implement such a State inevitably dissolves into rank tyranny, despite any benign intentions. We are of course, in the West, witnessing this in stark, shocking real time reality. The “freest” nation in history, the U.S., has dissolved into an object, mostly Huxlian, totalitarian financial/techno-oligarchy in less than two years. It has never been more clear nor obvious in any part of our history than now that our “leaders” are not in fact the organ grinders; and never before have so many of us had the truth of our enslavement projected into our faces with barely a cursory nod to propagandistic deception whilst so few of us seem to feel that we are either capable of doing or should do anything about it. However, I will not spend time on this point. This is a blog not so much about praxis, but theory. Until we can to some significant degree understand the nature and failures of our theological, philosophical, and political environments, our praxis is limited. And, somewhat ironically, given this point, I believe that we will come to realize that speaking, reasoning, preaching, conversing, and writing, is and has always been the best offense and defense with respect to tyranny. So, yes, maybe this blog is about praxis after all.